A Post Launch Nintendo Switch Review and a Look at Technical Difficulties
After spending over a week with a post release Switch, I feel I can make a better review than others like IGN who rush out a review of a prerelease device oblivious that they are doing so. At the same time I feel like I should talk about the “huge issues” a lot of people are talking about and my research and theories about some of them and why they are happening. In a lot of ways it is exactly what I expected. It takes any game and makes it portable, which automatically makes it the superior device when playing a multiplatform over competing hardware that is marketed as the cutting edge in pixel pushing. Unlike it’s competition, the Switch is all about functionality. The portability aspect on it’s own would make it a very compelling device that could cast an imposing shadow over competitors who have already rooted themselves deep into 8th gen soil, but I can see the brainstorming sessions deep in Nintendo’s Kyoto headquarters, where they have that concept down and the team supervisor asks how they can make this device better and someone grabs a piece of paper and suggests separating the controllers for added convenience and another points out doing so with the original concept would yield two controllers and by putting two buttons on the console facing side it would become two controllers with almost identical functionality.
Both of these features sweeten the devices appeal even more, particularly the ability to yank those joycons off and hand one to somebody to play with them, especially since no portable has ever supported multiplayer like that. That isn’t to say the option to attach controllers to a piece of plastic when playing at home isn’t a great addition, because it is more comfortable to use the grip, much more than playing free handed and slightly over attached to the screen. This feature has also lowered the cost of owning the Switch; if it wasn’t possible Nintendo would have had to bundle a procontroller with the system and increased the price to about 350 and had a tight profit margin. The joycons in the grip are perfectly fine and a procontroller is unnecessary. I expected the directional buttons would be much worse than they are, but it actually isn’t too bad. A d-pad is better, but it works and I can see an aftermarket d-pad thing eventually. You know a little suction cup or adhensive on a plastic d-pad, you just put it over the buttons and you’d have an even closer tactile sensation to an actual d-pad.
I initially thought the lower travel distance on the sticks would be more of a concern and it could be in a game like smash bros, but i think it wouldn’t be much harder to tilt instead of tap, though having a toggle to prevent the movement stick from registering taps and having the c-stick exclusively handle Smashes would work fine. The aspect I didn’t consider was the fact Nintendo really doesn’t want you to turn the system off, instead having you long press the home button to go into a sleep mode that is essentially more off than the Wii and Wii U ever were unless you unplugged them and when you wake the Switch you are instantly back where you went to sleep. It is a surreal and wonderful feeling to have to put the device into sleep to go to work or sleep and then come back and resume right where you were.
It makes for a surprisingly seamless experience like you just took a pause break to get a snack or pee even though hours passed. I know the 3DS should have had the same effect, but it is a different feeling. Perhaps because this is the fastest and quietest Nintendo hardware since the DS. You want to go to setting, well you are right in there, no waiting for the system to restart in settings mode and then having to restart in normal mode like with the 3DS or Wii U.
There is a wait to get into the eShop, but it is a matter of seconds, unlike how the Wii U had a point where you’d wait 5-7 minutes to get into the eShop. The eShop does have a major con for me though and that is that it doesn’t save any of your payment data, nor can you select multiple items to buy at once. I’m sure this is to prevent someone from stealing your device and spending thousands of dollars in the eShop, but that’s why we have parental controls and security, where is my vein pattern authentication the patent talked about? I want thieves to have to copy my vascular system.
I also find it concerning there is no easy way to move data, but it’s no been a problem for me yet. The fact the system is still not complete is also a problem for me, even though it can at least stand on its own feet now. We’ve still heard nothing about an estimate on Netflix or the virtual console. Now about these problems, I know there are those who are trying to excuse them all away and then you have others like MetalDave self-righteously white knighting for their friends and condescendingly calling Nintendo to automatically take the blame for every problem someone reports, and just to be clear, I’m not starting drama with MetalDave he has the right to feel that way and express himself, but i don’t think he’s right and that’s ok.
It’s also not right to excuse Nintendo because there are definitely defective units out there and Nintendo should replace them as they are doing and I think even extend the warranties for all launch window systems by a year just as a gesture that they are going to make sure the first few million, their core, are taken care of. Some of these issues aren’t Nintendo’s responsibility though. One friend put the joycon strap on backwards, but that is user error. I swear when I set my system, up Nintendo told me how to put those on twice and even without that and having adult ADD, I could deduce how to put them on and pay enough attention to succeed. If i thought kids would be using them, maybe Nintendo should, but they are designed for larger adult hands. I don’t think that one is a priority Nintendo should address. The joycons not responding after you are 10 feet from the system I also don’t think is a pressing issue. 10 feet is pretty far to be from a TV or god forbid the console in table top mode. The screen scratching problem is one that I’ve asked my friends about very heavily and none of us have had any issue, but we also are all relatively careful when docking and undocking.
I spent a lot of time confused about how this could happen apart from people being extremely rough and careless in docking and I have 2 theories. First, the factory may have a defective mold being used for the docks that has an extremely jagged edge and I’d like to see pictures of a dock that someone believes scratched their device because if this is the case, that’s something Nintendo needs to get on fast. However I have noticed one thing in common with a lot of problem Switches where the owner shows their set up, something that none of my friends have done and that is putting the dock on it’s side.
Having the dock face down would have the screen resting directly on the plastic slopes inside the dock and if you slid it out, I can easily see that scratching the screen and that would be user error without question, but this is something they should do something about since kids may dock and undock this roughly and Nintendo should definitely have a warning to keep the dock upright. While laying the dock sideways on it’s back would probably be safe for protecting the screen, I don’t think it’s a good idea for the other big problem. A lot of people have reported erratic operation and artifacts while playing and there are 3 likely causes, 2 of which might be caused or worsened by docking sideways. First, which I’m sure is the case for at least some is just a bad batch of GPUs. Second would be damaging the connection port on the dock which is on a little pressure sensitive disc which could be damaged or not get a good connection by docking on it’s side. I don’t think this would be the problem at this point though, because you’d need to be extremely rough in docking or dock sideways over the course of months or years.
I suppose this could be the issue if it’s just a poor connection and not damage. The final possibility is overheating and I know a lot of people have stuck thermometers in the exhaust vent and recorded temperatures of about 120 degrees, but let’s talk about a science a little and how the switch works. A basic scientific principal is that heat rises; I think we all learned this in elementary school. The Switch takes advantage of this principal and has heat pipes to move the heat from the GPU to the ventilation shaft. When the system is docked in a normal way or in table top mode the heat naturally rises up and out of the system.
The Switch also has a tiny, little weak fan to help push the heat out. Having the shaft be entirely horizontal or even sloping down leaves it all on the little fan to push heat out. When you play a game that produces a lot of heat, I doubt the fan alone will be enough and you could trap heat until it builds up and your device overheats. This problem is worsened in more enclosed spaces…
And guess what I’ve seen a lot of when people share their set up. Dock on it’s side and in a semi-enclosed space. You may think this is still something Nintendo didn’t plan for, but should’ve, afterall since the PS2 nearly every console can be vertical or on it’s side, even the Wii and Wii U, but all of those systems have loud fans. Big, loud, powerful fans wouldn’t work in a handheld device, you’d feel the fan spinning and jittering your system and you’d have a thicker, loud handheld with a much worse battery life. The fact the Switch is quiet is a big pro, normal people shouldn’t have to deal with a loud handheld because some people want to put it on its side. If this is causing systems to overheat, Nintendo only needs to make sure people know to not keep it level on it’s side for long periods. I’ll eventually also review BOW, Bomberman and I am Setsuna if I can get through that game without falling asleep, so be preparing for that and for the comment Heartless nobody said on the A link to the Past sequence break I did when I was sick and I regret doing it to test my ability to record gameplay through a DVDR-VCR combo.
Very ghetto, 17 dollars, I think I did upgrade them later though. and what videos are going to appear here, nobody knows. Oh no, I don’t think that video is very good; I wouldn’t have picked it and i regret making it..
As found on Youtube